The hardworking governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, is gentle but dynamic. Except when provoked, Wike is so gentle and unassuming that he could easily be classified as a man who cannot hurt a fly. This disposition has become a defining factor in his political career. But Wike does not suffer fools gladly. Variously described as the hero of the 2015 general elections who ensured that the people of Rivers State monitored their votes till the last minute and made sure their votes counted. In terms of political activism and sagacity, Wike dwarfs all others.
Adequately informed of the time-tested Biblical injunction that one should count one’s blessings and name them one by one, and given the fact that in our clime, if you failed to name what you have achieved, your opponents would name them as their achievements, Wike had decided to let God and mankind note the spread and dimensions of his towering achievements in just three years of calling the shots in the state as governor. Also, not a handful of the critics of the administration knew that before Wike, developments were largely concentrated in Port Harcourt, the capital city, much to the detriment of the rural dwellers who needed governance most.
Not many knew that several communities were not accessible as they had no motorable roads; even as the people were living without potable water and at the mercy of sicknesses and diseases. Today, the story has changed. Given Wike’s legendary love for his people, his elan to hold even his political adversaries in thrall, a few can behold this action governor and not feel a sense of shame and inadequacy. Wike exudes confidence that wows. The governor’s grasp of issues are astounding. But, again, it is his vision and determination to provide comfort for his people that is the thrust of his political philosophy. If you recall that it is the same Rivers State in which governance was kept on hold as the legislature and judiciary were proscribed for about two years that Wike has turned to a new haven in which people now go about their normal duties without molestation, you will understand the Wike phenomenon.
The sense of energy and optimism generated by the governor’s bold attempt to create a new model state in the Niger Delta, in spite of all odds, could have easily given way to disillusionment if his government did not turn visionary rhetoric into something more substantial. With some of the best hands in the media industry at the helm of his media team, the antics of those sponsored bookmakers’ intent on running him down pale into insignificance. After the sense of drift that was the lot of the people in the recent past, in spite of intensive media hype, the state is experiencing a refreshing moment. Wike has managed simultaneously to accept much of the legacy of his predeces- sor while creating public excitement about his own idea of good governance. He is attacking excruciating poverty and underdevelopment head-on through the commissioning of massive developmental projects.
It is not possible to articulate the cumulative magnitude of Wike’s developmental strides in the last three years in one piece. Besides asphalting a network of more than 1,000 kilometres of well developed, closely knit roads across the length and breadth of the state, his government has given more than just a facelift to education. He only recently approved automatic jobs for Rivers PhD graduates and automatic scholarship for all the 25 Rivers indigenes who bagged First Class Degrees during the 2018 convocation ceremony of the Rivers State University.
A random listing of some of the recently commissioned projects which attracted the creme de la creme of the upper reaches of the Nigerian society to the state would here suffice: the long abandoned Nyemoni Grammar School, Abonnema in Akuku Toru Local Government Area which was reconstructed by Mr. Projects, with all modern facilities, was commissioned by former Governor of Kaduna State, Senator Ahmed Makarfi on June 27. The reconstructed Government Secondary School, Onne, in Eleme Local Government Area was commissioned by former Governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido. On Sunday June 24, it was the turn of the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Akwrght, who commissioned the Government Girls Secondary School, Rumuokwuta, constructed by Mr. Projects. Even while the Federal Government has consistently been denying Rivers State of Support Fund, Wike is still commissioning new projects on a daily basis. This means that the governor’s capacity for prudent management of the resources of the state is legendary.
To accentuate his priority on education, after nipping the cascading insecurity crisis in the bud, not
only has he built and renovated several schools across the state, he has reintroduced scholarship awards for indigenes to study at home and abroad. An attempt to encode some of these numerous projects would definitely not leave the inimitable ones among the lots. Some of them include: Creek Road and Bishop Johnson Street; former Produce House, Moscow Road; flag off of Real Madrid Football Academy at Elekahia, Port Harcourt; Eleme-Alimini Internal Roads; Omoku Internal Roads; Garrison-Trans-Amadi Road; Cultural Centre, Bonny Street, Port Harcourt; Amadi-Ama Internal Roads; Doctors’ Quarters (BMSH); Woji-Elelenwo Road; BMGS, Bori, and Abacha Road. Others are: Mgbuoshimini Health Centre and Primary School.
Aside from the admirable cordiality between government and organized Labour in the state, in spite of meagre financial inflow, this miracle cannot be divorced from the Governor’s strategic templates which include a creative facilitation of the flow of private investor money into the state’s hitherto unproductive assets to make them operational thereby lifting the state’s oil and non-oil economy. Another one is the transformation of the rural economy through lifting road access restrictions to rural entrepreneurial potentials. Add to this, the transformation of the system of governance into the new digital age for efficiency and attainment of the optimum in the aggregation of potential revenue resources of the state, excluding oil.
Above all, the establishment of strategic assets across sectors, namely, healthcare, education, agriculture, rural electrification, water, urban and rural transportation to regenerate the rural-urban economy, among others. Such has been Wike’s approach to the massive transformation of Rivers State since the past three years which has made Nigerians to describe Wike as the best governor in the country in the current dispensation. The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, who nicknamed Wike, “Mr. Projects” and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar who recently declared him the best governor in Nigeria and many others who have come to commission various projects in the state.
Amor is the Editor-in-Chief of Lakis News.